I’m going to cover some of the basics for beginner & intermediate players. And by basics – I mean gold!
The Forehand is a really popular stroke and something you want to hit well.
It’s typically cracking our 1st forehand that sends us over the moon about tennis and all we want to do is figure out how to crack the next one.
You want to feel confident, balanced and in control. And further down the line you’ll want to have it as a weapon.
- Shoulder rotation
- Contact out in front
Let’s get moving!
1# THE GRIP
The Grip we’ll cover is Eastern, where we literally shake hands with the racquet and the racquet face is flat on contact. This continues to be a great grip for beginner & intermediate players as it’s the cleanest way to make contact with the ball. You can move your hand over from there when you’re ready to start applying spin.
2# THE STANCE
Today’s debate? Open stance vs neutral stance. Modern tennis primarily teaches open stance. Hitting in neutral stance is a more traditional stance – that still applies!!
I prefer to teach neutral stance to beginners as it helps them to keep their balance, turn their shoulders & understand weight transfer moving forwards through a shot.
3# SHOULDER TURN
A full shoulder rotation is what gets the hips turned giving you a good source of control and power.
In ready position your shoulders begin parallel to the net, as the ball approaches you have to turn your shoulders perpendicular to the net while taking the racquet back low. As you finish the stroke your shoulders & hips turn again to face the net. Don’t forget to take the racquet head back low, while rotating the shoulders.
4# HITTING THE BALL OUT IN FRONT
Super important! And something I see very little from players. Here’s what it looks like in simple terms.
The non-dominant hand (left for right handed players) set in front of your body helps track, balance & facilitate the shoulder rotation.
Yet again, basic yet gold! We see junior & professional players use it without fail but getting adults to add this is a little bit trickier and takes some convincing!
When I was a kid my coach used to have me point at the ball out in front and when it was close enough to catch it, is when I had to hit it. This helped develop the correct habit of hitting the ball out in front of the body.
5# THE EXTENSION
Hitting the ball out in front allows for a nice full extension through the ball. With long extensions you’re able to hit deep balls. In tennis, you always want deep balls in the court – not short ones.
Lastly, keep it simple. Finish above the opposite shoulder. At the end of that shot you should be able to kiss your bicep.
Now you’ve hopefully got a clean contact with the ball out in front – a beautiful long extension and a deep ball in your opponent’s side of the court. What more could you ask for?
As you progress you’ll move into more funky grips, topspin, windshield wiper finishes, open stance and maybe even kick serves. But for now, keep the game simple and learn the forehand technique well. Tennis is already one of the most athletically challenging sports out there. It’s also called a lifetime sport – for a reason.